EPA Enforcement Roundup: Week of 4/24

Posted on 4/24/2023 by Lion Technology Inc.

US businesses are subject to complex, overlapping environmental regulations related to air emissions, discharges to water, hazardous waste management and disposal, oil spills, chemical management, and more. Failure to comply with all applicable US EPA requirements can result in future liability and civil penalties as high as $100,000+ per day, per violation.

The EPA enforcement actions highlighted below provide insight into how and why the Agency assesses civil penalties for environmental noncompliance. All violations mentioned are alleged unless we indicate otherwise. We withhold the names of organizations and individuals subject to enforcement to protect their privacy.

Your EPA Enforcement Roundup for this week:

A petroleum company will pay $1,224,550 for alleged Risk Management Planning (RMP) violations in California.

An inspection of a petroleum company facility in Benicia, CA revealed alleged violations of Clean Air Act Chemical Accident Prevention standards, EPA says. Specific violations include failures to:

  • Immediately report releases of hazardous substances,
  • Update certain process safety information,
  • Adequately analyze certain process hazards, and
  • Develop and implement certain written operating procedures.

The company is required to implement safety improvements to their facility through June 2025.

From EPA's press release:

"This settlement sends a clear message that EPA will prosecute companies that fail to expend the resources needed to have a compliant, well-functioning Risk Management Plan to the fullest extend of the law."

—Acting Assistant Administrator, EPA Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance

3 natural gas companies will spend $25M+ to improve 100+ facilities after alleged failure to detect and fix air pollution leaks. 

These three companies have reached a settlement with US EPA, and plan to make improvements at more than 110+ facilities across twelve states. 

Leak detection and repair (LDAR) requirements were allegedly violated at facilities owned by each company. These leaks from equipment can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs), benzene, formaldehyde, and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, EPA says.

The companies will pay $9.25M combined through these settlements, conduct audits to ensure future LDAR compliance and swift equipment repairs, and spend about $16M on injunctive relief requirements such as new technologies, control techniques, and equipment.

EPA expects the improvements these facilities are making to reduce ozone-producing air pollution by 953 tons/year and greenhouse gases by 50,633 tons/year carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e).

Two companies are set to pay $30,000 for alleged Clean Water Act violations at a construction site in Luquillo, Puerto Rico.

The two companies allegedly failed to submit a Notice of Intent to the EPA Regional Office and implement and maintain effective stormwater and erosion controls as required by the regulations (40 CFR 55.4 and 122.26).

The owner failed to apply for stormwater permit coverage for its construction activities in a timely manner and allegedly discharged pollutants without authorization into wetlands. Work has been done to implement erosion and sediment controls and soil stabilization at the site—both companies are now in compliance with EPA regulations.

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Tags: Clean Air Act, EPA Enforcement Roundup, risk management plans, RMP, stormwater

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